Wednesday, August 30, 2006

 

Ancient Raptors Likely Feasted On Early Man, Study Suggests

Diana Monkey Taung Child Ivory Coast Skull (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)Ohio State University (OSU): Columbus - A new study suggests that prehistoric birds of prey made meals out of some of our earliest human ancestors.

Researchers drew this conclusion after studying more than 600 bones from modern-day monkeys. They had collected the bones from beneath the nests of African crowned eagles in the Ivory Coast's Tai rainforest...

...Punctures and scratches on many of the monkey skulls have led some researchers to rethink which animals may have preyed on our human ancestors, said W. Scott McGraw, the study's lead author and an associate professor of anthropology at Ohio State University...

...Archaeologists discovered the skull of a 3 1/2 year old ape-like child in a cave in South Africa in 1924. Researchers believed this child, called the Taung child (Australopithecus africanus), had been killed by a predatory cat. But McGraw said that puncture marks on the monkey skulls he examined closely resemble those found on the skull of the Taung child...
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The above is based on the American Journal of Physical Anthropology paper "Primate remains from African crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) nests in Ivory Coast's Tai Forest: Implications for primate predation and early hominid taphonomy in South Africa" (Abstract)

Somewhat later than everyone else, The Washington Post's 'Science Notebook' for Monday, 11th September 2006, is also carrying an article on this topic titled "Human Ancestors as Bird Food"

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